The winter season can be a bit of a danger zone when it comes to fitness and nutrition. As we all know (and most of us have experienced at one time or another), all of the holiday meals and sweet lattes can quickly add up to a few extra pounds. And when you throw in the fact that it can be harder to motivate yourself to get out and exercise when the weather cools and you’d rather curl up in a blanket and watch TV, those extra pounds can start to multiply.
A little bit of this doesn’t need to be a big deal. If you have sound nutritional habits and you exercise regularly, it might be somewhat normal to gain a small amount of weight through the winter and shed it again come spring. But even so, most people would rather avoid this altogether – and some may even now be looking into starting a weight-loss regimen, regardless of the season! Wherever you fall on this spectrum though, we’ve come up with a few out-there ways to keep weight off this winter (aside from the basic tips, like “join a local gym”).
1 – Join A Recreational Sports League
Okay, so this is kind of a different version of telling you to join a gym, but for whatever reason a lot of people switch off their recreational sports switches when they reach a certain age. The truth is that there are several benefits of adult rec leagues, including socialization, developing new skills, and general fitness upkeep. And naturally that last point is all the more important during the winter. If it’s cold outside, you’re not one for home workouts, and getting to the gym is a struggle, you might just find that you’re a bit more motivated to meet up with your team (be it for basketball, indoor soccer, or whatever else) to break a sweat. Playing a sport a few times a week can go a long way toward offsetting those winter weight gain traps.
2 – Shop For Spring Clothes
If you decide to go with this tip, you’re betting pretty heavily on your own discipline – but you’re also providing yourself with an incentive. Basically, instead of waiting until spring or early summer to shop for new warm weather clothes and bathing suits, grab a few items before the winter starts. That way, you’re essentially obligated to stay at or near your current fitness level, so that you’ll be able to fit into your new clothes once spring and summer roll around. Or, to put it another way, if you allow yourself to gain unwanted weight over the winter, you’ll essentially be wasting your purchases – at least until you can knock that weight off and fit into them again.
3 – Bet Actual Money On Yourself
If you’re willing to bet on discipline, you might be able to put actual money on it too. Betting used to be a no-go in most of the U.S., but now that sportsbooks have emerged in New Jersey and a few other states, the activity is going more mainstream. And believe it or not, it’s not unheard of for an online sportsbook to take a bet on an individual’s fitness. It doesn’t happen often, and the examples you’ll find online tend to concern radical weight loss. But you might consider at least looking into whether or not a sportsbook will take a bet on your reaching or maintaining a certain weight by a certain time. Or, if this isn’t an option, you could basically organize the same thing on a more personal level with someone you know (who doesn’t mind making a friendly wager against you!).
4 – Learn To Love Iced Coffee
This is a bit of a roundabout idea, and it’s somewhat counterintuitive for the winter, but hear us out. We mentioned sweet lattes above, and more than a few studies have spoken to the idea that sugary drinks cause weight gain – perhaps even more so than sugary foods, in some cases. In the depths of winter though, you may be tempted to add another sugar or two to your morning coffee, or to opt for a vanilla latte instead – or even to go all out and enjoy some hot chocolate! This is fine every now and then – we’re not here to say you shouldn’t enjoy the occasional cold weather treat. But if you get a taste for cold coffee instead, you can also get in the habit of having it the moment you wake up, so that you don’t need that first hot, sweet beverage. Start putting iced coffee in a cold thermos on your bedside table and it will still be cold and fresh in the morning, so that you can drink it as you go about your routine before you even have a chance to opt for something else. Even if you cut out a dozen sweet drinks over the course of the season this way, it’ll help your overall fitness efforts!